How to Run System File Checker in Windows (Complete Guide)

System File Checker helps you solve the problem of corrupted system files causing issues on Windows. There are chances that some system files on Windows 11/10 may be corrupted or missing if your Windows laptop faces startup issues, unexpected errors, or certain features not working properly. One can fix all these problems with SFC. This post will show how you can run System File Checker in Windows.

What is SFC or System File Checker?

Windows comes with the System File Checker (SFC), a command-line utility designed to scan the integrity and restore missing or corrupted system files with working replacements in case of any associated problems. The System File Checker (SFC) can be launched from within Windows or from Windows recovery media with administrator rights.

How to Run System File Checker in Windows

How to Run System File Checker in Windows

You can follow these methods to run System File Checker in Windows, depending on your situation.

  • System File Checker (SFC) from within Windows as an Administrator
  • System File Checker (SFC) using the Windows recovery media

While the first one works when you have access to the PC, the second one comes in handy when your PC is not booting and you need to fix it.

1] System File Checker (SFC) From Within Windows as an Administrator

  • Press Win + X to open the Power Menu. Then choose Command Prompt, Windows Terminal, or PowerShell with Admin permission.
  • Click Yes to accept the User Account Control (UAC) pop-up.
  • Type SFC /scannow into the terminal window and press Enter.SFC Scannow
  • The Windows system file checker utility examines the stability of the scanned files and, if necessary, will perform repairs.
  • Restart the computer when the process is done.

2] System File Checker (SFC) Using the Windows Recovery Media

Depending on the computer’s configuration, this operation could take up to an hour to finish.

  • Make a Windows installation disk or Bootable USB
  • Connect the USB installation disk to the PC.
  • Press F12 as soon as the computer starts to boot into UEFI or BIOS.
  • Go to the Boot section, and change the Boot Order. Ensure that the USB disk is set as the first boot device. Save the changes, and restart the PC.
  • Next, the PC boots up using the USB installation disk.
  • It will start the regular Windows installation where you must select a language and click Next.
  • On the next screen, choose the Repair your Computer option.
  • Next, select Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.Advanced recovery Command Prompt
  • From the list displayed, choose Command Prompt.
  • Next, type sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c:\windows and press Enter.
  • Here, Windows system files are examined for integrity using the system file checker software and, if necessary, will undergo repair.
  • Restart the computer after the procedure is over.

Conclusion

So, in this article, you can find the two methods to run a System File Checker that searches for corrupted files in your system. Always ensure that you have installed the most recent Windows updates, and restart your computer before running the System File Checker. The process can also take up to an hour.

What are SFC Options or Modifiers?

Most problems can be fixed with a simple System File Checker (SFC) scan using the /scannow modifier, but there are other possible modifiers too.

  • scannow– Repairs corrupted or erroneous files after scanning all system files.
  • scanonce– Scans once through all system files.
  • scanboot– Every time the system is rebooted, a full system file scan is performed at boot.
  • cancel– Halts any ongoing scans (such as those initiated by the scanboot modifier).
  • enable Allows to activate the Windows File Protection (WFP), which stops applications from changing Windows system files.

How To View Details of the System File Checker Process?

First, launch an elevated command prompt. Type the following command at the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:

 "%windir%LogsCBSCBS.log >"%userprofile%Desktopsfcdetails.txt" findstr /c:"[SR]"

Note: Every time the System File Checker utility has been used on the computer, information is recorded in the Sfcdetails.txt file. The file contains details about files that the System File Checker utility could not manage to fix. Check the date and time entries to find the problematic files discovered when you last performed the System File Checker tool.

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